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January 17, 2018

Asbestos turns library into white elephant

The facility turned into a white elephant in 2003 after the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services (DBES) found that the roofing had asbestos, which posed a health hazard to employees and users.”The building has been non-operational because it is worn out, and the asbestos roof poses a health hazard. The building is awaiting renovation so that it can be used as the Gaborone Public Library,” BNLS deputy director Gaorere Kgotla said.

Responding to a questionnaire sent a month ago, BNLS said the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, under which public libraries fall, and relevant stakeholders are working on documentation for a tender for Expression of Interest (EOI), through which the most qualifying specialist will be engaged for the removal and disposal of the fibrous material. The concerned departments are Waste Management and Pollution Control, the Environmental Health Division and the Environmental Health Division of the Gaborone City Council.

Kgotla emphasized the need for due care when removing and disposing of the material because it may cause serious health complications to the occupants in the surrounding areas. The library was opened in the 1970s. At the time, it served as a public library, head-office and national reference library. In 1978, the Gaborone public library relocated to the Gaborone City Council premises.

The BNLS could not disclose the cost of building this library opting to state that it was built through a donor agency, neither could they estimate the cost of renovating it. “We are however not in a position to disclose the estimated costs as the technical unit is still preparing the tender documentation which includes project estimates,” Kgotla said. The BNLS says the facility was used for the provision of reading material for the National Reference Library and as an administration block for corporate services and the bibliographic support services division.

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Asbestos turns library into white elephant

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